Dan McCready withdraws concession in House race amid fraud allegations

Mark Harris North Caorlina voter fraud

Mark Harris North Caorlina voter fraud

Dallas Woodhouse, the state party's executive director, initially said he hadn't been alerted to the potential of absentee fraud by a Harris-hired consultant, Leslie McCrae Dowless, before admitting that he may have just shrugged them off in the heat of the campaign fight.

Harris, a Baptist minister who ousted Rep. Robert Pittenger in a Republican primary this year, leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes. One woman told WSOC-TV that Dowless "paid her $75 to $100 a week to go around and pick up finished absentee ballots". Absentee ballots in North Carolina require two witnesses' signatures.

Some voters said they handed their unsealed ballots over to one of these operatives.

The State Board of Elections is investigating whether he had a role in manipulating or even handling absentee ballots.

But the state elections board refused to certify the results last week because of allegations of "irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities" involving mail-in ballots in the district. Furthermore, the suspiciously high non-return rates from Bladen (40%) and Robeson (62%) counties in a district where the overall non-return rate was 24% suggested all along that someone intercepted at least some of those ballots ... which is, again, why ballot harvesting is illegal in North Carolina.

The main issue: Harris won an unusually high percentage of the absentee mail-in vote in Bladen County.

"We're not ready to call for a new election yet", Woodhouse added, but that's still a long way from Woodhouse's position nine days ago.

Nearly a month after Republican Mark Harris declared victory in his North Carolina race for the U.S. House of Representatives, the state's election board is declining to certify the result as it probes mail-in ballots from two rural counties that have been called into question.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the House "retains the right to decide who is seated".

"If they can show a substantial likelihood it could have changed the race then we fully would support a new election", he said.

The state could order a new election. She also noted the investigative power of the House to determine race winners.

Pelosi said "any member-elect can object to the seating and the swearing-in of another member-elect".

A state election board spokesman confirmed Thursday that subpoenas seeking documents had been sent to the Harris campaign, the firm serving as Harris' chief strategist and the campaign committee of the sitting Bladen sheriff.

Republican Mark Harris still hopes that the 116th Congress will seat him as the fairly elected representative for North Carolina's Ninth Congressional District. They said neither election boards appointed by under governors from both parties, nor prosecutors, have adequately addressed recurring issues in Bladen. Dan Bishop of Charlotte said at a news conference at the Legislative Building.

"It's expensive and logistically tough to have a new election in the 9th District", Steve Stone said. 'If we find the irregularities and the vote count being where it is, then (a new election) certainly is an option'.

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